“Uber drivers are workers”: Riders group welcomes British SC decision on gig workers
The riders’ group Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong (Kagulong) greeted with enthusiasm the British Supreme Court’s decision declaring Uber drivers as workers. The landmark decision has finally settled a legal battle between the giant ride-hailing up and two of its workers who brought the issue before the courts in 2016 on whether they should be treated as workers of the company or self-employed.
Uber is also facing similar complaints in many other countries.
The Court said as reported in British newspapers, Uber drivers are workers “the moment they log-on until they log-off the Uber app.” Therefore, as workers, they are entitled to at least the minimum wage, holiday pay, and other benefits due for regular workers.
“Nakasisiya ang desisyon para sa aming mga manggagawang riders. Sa wakas ay mayroon nang jurisprudence sa isyung ito ng mga tinatawag na gig economy workers na maaring paghalawan ng mga korte ng iba’t-ibang bansa katulad ng Pilipinas,” stated Kagulong spokesman Robert Perillo.
Perillo, who is also the President of the Bulacan Motorcycle Riders Confederation (BMRF), said many of their members are working as riders/drivers in many app-based logistics services, thus, the legal resolution on their employment status is the first important step in promoting and protecting the gig economy workers’ basic rights and better working conditions.
According to BBC news, the court considered several elements in its judgement:
Uber set the fare which meant that they dictated how much drivers could earn
Uber set the contract terms and drivers had no say in them
Request for rides is constrained by Uber who can penalize drivers if they reject too many rides
Uber monitors a driver’s service through the star rating and has the capacity to terminate the relationship if after repeated warnings this does not improve
As an organized rights-based riding community, Kagulong has been receiving complaints from fellow riders working in different companies. Common among these complaints, similar to what the Court has resolved, is their imposed status as “independent contractors,” and the way hailing app exercises control over the performance of their jobs.
“Ngayong may batas na maari nang pagbasehan, wala nang dahilan ang ating mga ahensya tulad ng DOLE na sabihing hindi maaring harapin ang ilang isyu na nakahapag dito tulad ng reklamo ng mga manggagawa sa Food Panda na hindi pa hinaharap ng management sa dayalogo,” explained Perillo.
Kagulong called on riders/drivers from different companies to welcome this decision and organize themselves into union or workers’ associations to be able to defend their rights and secure better working conditions in the gig economy.
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